CANTON, Ohio -- John Facenda, a longtime narrator of NFL highlights whose voice became synonymous with the league, is the winner of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's 2021 Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award.
Facenda, who died in 1984, was a television news anchor in Philadelphia when NFL Films creator Ed Sabol heard his distinct voice describing some highlights in 1965. Sabol invited Facenda to read scripts, leading to a job Facenda held for 19 years until his death at age 71.
"For nearly 20 years, John Facenda's resonant voice was, and even today still is, synonymous with the power, strength and character of the NFL," said Hall of Fame president David Baker, who made the announcement Monday.
The late John Facenda, a broadcaster and sports announcer from Philadelphia who later became known as the "Voice of God" to many fans of the @NFL, is the recipient of the 2021 Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award.— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) June 28, 2021
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The Hall of Fame presents the Rozelle Award annually in recognition of longtime exceptional contributions to radio and television in pro football.
Facenda narrated numerous films and weekly highlight packages, contributing to the growth in interest surrounding pro football. His speaking style earned him the nickname "The Voice of God" and contributed to the expansion of NFL Films.
Ed Sabol, the 1991 Rozelle winner, made the Hall of Fame in 2011. He died in 2015. His son, Steve Sabol, will be part of the celebration for Facenda as a member of the centennial class of 2020. He died of cancer in 2012.
Jack Facenda will accept the Rozelle Award on his dad's behalf Aug. 6 during enshrinement weekend.
Facenda's career started in radio in Philadelphia before he debuted as an anchor in 1952. Facenda was one of the creators of the TV news format still used today, with separate segments for news, sports and weather.